The Legend of Hercules’ new trailer is the worst thing ever

It should be no surprise to anyone with a functioning brainstem that we don’t like the look of The Legend of Hercules. Remember Immortals? The PR asked us to take that review down. But despite our dogged persistence in explaining to Hollywood why it’s not okay to ham-fistedly conflate some chunks Greek and Roman mythology, shove in an insipid love story and hire a fashionable actor to dance around on top with his tits out, this film is still happening.

Here’s the UK trailer – watch it, or kill yourself, or something.

There’s a poster too, but if you think we’re hosting it on our damn site you’re mistaken.

The Legend of Hercules opens with a bloody gladiatorial contest in an awful round CGI arena, which is already a disaster because the Greeks did not dig on circular theatres. Or gladiators. Our Ancient History correspondent Emma Southon (you WISH you had one) also points out that the arena appears to change between amphitheatre (stands on both/all sides) and ‘nonamphitheatre’ or ‘theatre’ or whatever at will, and what she doesn’t know about the differences between Greek and Roman architecture isn’t worth knowing. Unfortunately, what the rest of the BFF team doesn’t know about classical architecture is everything, so let’s focus on the geographically and temporally misplaced gladiators, none of whom have benefited from even a passing whisper of Hellenisation. Here they are:

Gladiator lineup

There’s a retarius (out of shot), and a dimachaerus, and a guy who looks like a cross between a murmillo and a hoplomachus, and a guy who might be wearing a really rubbish cestus or perhaps just a massive glove. Who knows. Two of those types of gladiator have Greek names, which is literally the best thing that can be said for this film at the time of writing. One of them’s got a labrys, which – given that Crete is talked about seconds later – seems like a good effort, but of all the things about Hellenic culture to superimpose onto what is essentially a Roman scene it’s the WORST. The extent to which there were no recognised gladiatorial variants armed with axes is so spectacular that the the first fourteen Google results for ‘gladiator with axe’ are for a World of Warcraft wiki. And the fifteenth is for the website of the TV show ‘Gladiators’. Interestingly, though, a few results farther on we found a Yahoo Answers question which was almost certainly posed by one of the writers of this bloody film:


Quite. BEFORE HE WAS A LEGEND, says the shiny onscreen text – at this point Kellan Lutz, wearing a towel, dives backwards off a waterfall – HE WAS AN ORDINARY MAN. Right, The Legend of Hercules, I’ll stop you there. At absolutely no point was Hercules an ordinary man. As an infant he fought and killed snakes sent by Hera, vengeful goddess wife of his slutty father Zeus; and shortly thereafter, Athena tricked Hera into breastfeeding him. You cannot have a go on the Queen of Olympus’ wabs before your first birthday and claim you’re keeping it real, mate. Anyway, what ordinary men like is to do such good swimming that women in pink dresses give them horrible necklaces, so that’s fine. Wonder who she is? Probably a princess, given the gaudy outfit, which means our money’s on Megara – Hercules’ first wife, whose children he later kills in a fit of madness. Let’s carry on watching.

“The peace between our houses”, says a scruffy-looking king, “will be sealed when my heir, Prince Iphicles” – this is all fine so far, the king is obviously Hercules’ stepdad Amphitryon and Iphicles (above) is his pushy older brother – “takes the princess of Crete to be his wife.” Cue an unsurprising cut to the bird in pink. Princess of Crete, eh? Not really canon but that’s alright, we can allow a little license. Anyway, it makes sense; Minos, the king of Crete who Hercules encounters during his labours, had a mighty sixteen children by some five women and nymphs, so there are plenty of princesses to choose from. Ariadne’s probably out in case anyone ever does a proper Theseus film (piss off, Immortals, we can see you there), so who’ll it be? Phaedra? Euryale? Acacallis? Xenodice? Christ, the trailer’s obviously not going to spell it out – hang on while we check IMDb. The princess is called… Hebe.

Hebe. Hebe, Hercules’ fourth wife, the one he doesn’t marry until his third wife mortally wounds him with a poisoned shirt and he’s immolated and becomes a true god. Hebe, cupbearer (read: waitress) to the Twelve Olympians. Hebe, who in no version of any myth at all is in any way human. Hebe. Why are you doing this to us, The Legend of Hercules? Why do you insist on just transplanting names and ideas that make no sense from one chunk of Greek mythology to another? Why isn’t she called Megara, for God’s sake? AT LEAST EVERYONE’S HEARD OF MEGARA:

That’s our sort of Hercules film. But back to this dross – we’re only a third of the way through the trailer, alas. Hercules and HEBE immediately jump on their horses to go and shag in a wood, with HEBE BLOODY HEBE’s wibbly voiceover basically aping everything Helen said in Troy about escaping the responsibilities of their enormously privileged lives and pissing off to an island or whatever. As you might imagine, Iphicles (played by some fountain of irrelevance from Yorkshire who’s clearly been styled as a knock-off Commodus, awful fringe and all – look at the photo again if you’re not convinced) isn’t best pleased with this, so Herc is banished to Egypt. Why Egypt? It literally doesn’t matter.

Happily, from here until the last few seconds it’s a bit easier to skim-read the trailer. Hercules does a bit of rowing, some woman or other bleats on about how far from love he’s going to end up (rubbish – this one time, Hercules knocked off the fifty daughters of the king of Thespie in a SINGLE NIGHT, and they all had sons. Lad.), and with no further ado he’s wrestling in a sort of flooded sandpit, which is presumably the sort of senseless decadence that led to the fall of Mubarak. HEBE WHY IS SHE CALLED HEBE WHAT A BITCH has another whinge, only to be shut right down by an old man who I believe is supposed to be Chiron (is he a centaur? Is he bollocks), and then we’re back in the arena, at which point Hercules becomes Magneto:

WHERE DID THAT BASTARD SWORD COME FROM? It is clearly impossible to throw a sword so it travels bolt upright at that sort of speed, which means that The Legend of Hercules is now playing fast and loose not only with mythology, narrative theory and good taste, but also with physics. Jesus. Next we have another lovely rip-off shot, as Hercules slips into his ‘Commander of the Armies of the North and General of the Felix Legions’ outfit


Who wears a fur cloak in Greece? They don’t have an economy and vine leaves are revolting, but at least it’s warm. And don’t even start, Labours fans – it doesn’t count as the skin of the Nemean Lion unless you’re wearing it like a onesie, that’s just logic. Hercules then has a little growl about how he won’t stop until he’s reclaimed that festering bint (we’re sick of saying her name), and appears to mount a full-scale invasion of his home city. “TONIGHT,” he tries to roar despite being a little blond boy in a helmet, “WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES.” This is a dreadful battle cry, Hercules. Reminding people that they’ll die unless everything goes swimmingly is not, and has never been, one of the seven habits of highly effective managers.

Next thing you know, Hercules is chained to a wall being whipped whilst his stepdad takes the piss out of him (to be fair, you’d be miffed if Zeus had had a go on your wife and then his kid was better than yours). In one of those shot-exclusively-for-the-goons-who-see-it-in-3D moments, Herc then rips his shackles out of the wall with fridge-sized boulders attached and turns everyone within swinging distance to taramasalata. Fifteen seconds from the end, this is the first time in the whole trailer that we’ve seen him act like the demigod he is, rather than a sulky teenager with an unflattering haircut and a complicated home life. And before you’ve even digested it, what does he do next?

Obviously, he points his sword at a thunderstorm and casually watches it transform into a fifty-foot lightning whip, a weapon that he’s clearly plagiarised from Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. Mickey Rourke was also in Immortals, which probably proves something, although we’re not sure what. Anyway, conclusively demonstrating that he is not to be trusted with giant supernatural weapons, Hercules immediately cracks it in a circle; the perfect move with which to demolish his own misguided soldiers as well as the brave souls seeking to stop this hulking lust-crazed halfwit from destroying the cradle of civilisation. Nice one, Herc. Have a gold sticker, but try not to eat it.

And that’s it – two and a quarter minutes of indifferently animated, thoughtlessly written, abominably acted (seriously, the French girl who plays you-know-who needs either RADA or Dignitas) trailer condensed into a mere seventeen hundred words. The Legend of Hercules looks set to break all available records for the worst ever action film based on mythological misappropriation. The only good thing we can say about it is this: with luck, it’ll not only decapitate the Hydra of Kellan Lutz’ career, but cauterise the stump. So he never, ever comes back.

The Legend of Hercules is out on March 28th. You might as well book a dentist’s appointment; you’ll have nothing better to do. That’s a promise.

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